Colusa resident and business owner Patrick Kittle has spent more than 45 days in hospitals or inpatient rehabilitation after being hospitalized in early September with COVID-19. On Monday, he shared his story and regret of not getting vaccinated during a media availability done over Zoom.
Patrick Kittle sat alongside his wife Shelly Kittle, both 55. Patrick Kittle has been at the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute for the last couple of weeks. Representatives from Sutter Davis Hospital and the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute on the Sutter Roseville Medical Center campus joined the call to talk about Patrick Kittle’s treatment and recovery.
Patrick Kittle has owned Kittle’s Outdoor & Sport in Colusa County for more than 20 years and described a conversation with his primary care physician about getting the vaccine. He said his stubbornness, his strong immune system and the fact his wife had COVID-19 early this year played into his decision to not get vaccinated.
“I would certainly (have) taken heed to my primary care doctor’s warning about getting the vaccination,” Patrick Kittle said about what he’d do differently. “... Looking back, I need to have more respect for my family and the people around me protecting them ... I would have been vaccinated and not been so stubborn.”
Dr. Jacob Alexander, a hospitalist with Sutter Davis Hospital, said Patrick Kittle was admitted into the hospital after returning from a trip with a fever and a need for oxygen. He immediately was treated with steroids. During the course of hospitalization, Patrick Kittle was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator on more than one occasion. Alexander said he received anti-inflammatory medication and dealt with blood clots. Blood thinners caused Patrick Kittle to develop gastrointestinal bleeding and he had to be transferred to Sutter Sacramento Hospital for a higher level of care.
“To see him break through and get to rehab has been really remarkable in an otherwise very discouraging time period to be a healthcare provider,” Alexander said. “In spite of everything, he’s really shown remarkable resolve.”
Dr. Pacito Yabes with Sutter Rehabilitation Institute said Patrick Kittle was deconditioned from being hospitalized and needed to build up his strength and endurance. Yabes and physical therapist Christy Nguyen said Patrick Kittle’s motivation helped him through the rehab process. When he first arrived, he could walk only 20-40 feet at the time with the help of a few liters of oxygen.
“We can’t push them too hard right now. It’s finding that balance,” Nguyen said of COVID patients.
Patrick Kittle’s next step will be transitioning to continuing to recover at home.
“My only concern is the post-COVID conditions,” Shelly Kittle said. “I don’t know what that’s going to look like with Pat, but just to have him home we’re ever so grateful.”
Shelly Kittle said she tested positive for COVID-19 after losing her sense of taste and smell around New Year’s. She said she has been fully vaccinated. They have children ages 14 and nine and their older child has also been vaccinated. Patrick Kittle said he has been advised by doctors to get the vaccine after his antibodies from having COVID-19 wear off. He said his medical costs are in the hundreds of thousands.
“My surprising realization was that this disease is so wicked and unpredictably weird,” Patrick Kittle said.
He said the overwhelming support of his family, friends and community helped motivate him through his recovery.
“Even if you don’t know somebody or if you casually know someone that’s going through a hard time, reaching out and letting them know that you’re there for them can do a world of difference,” Patrick Kittle said.